Today’s Campaign Update, Part II (Because The Campaign Never Ends)
Mitch McConnell made a fairly rare, long-ish appearance on the Sean Hannity Tick-Tock hour last night. – The Senate Majority Leader made a lot of very important statements during this interview, including an ironclad guarantee – a la Joe Willie Namath before the 1968 Super Bowl – that there is “zero chance” the President will be convicted and removed by the Senate. Given that the media reports I’ve seen on it are woefully inadequate, I thought it was important to provide readers here a more fulsome summation of the interview.
Because the segment is almost 11 minutes long and the video clip provides closed captioning, I haven’t compiled a full transcript. However, key outtakes – which constitute virtually all of his own remarks – from McConnell’s remarks appear below.
[Apologies to readers: This video clip, for whatever reason, will not play when embeded within this piece, so please follow the link provided above to view it.]
The Democrats have been wanting to do this for three years. The first headline in the Washington Post after the President was inaugurated was that they were going to impeach him. Well, they finally got around to it, and we assume we will see two articles of impeachment, both of them pretty weak stuff, coming over to us.
Under the rules of impeachment, the Senate then turns to it – has no option, but to turn to it – and it’s the sole business until we finish.
How we can impact that, really, is just with 51 votes. The Chief Justice is in the Chair, I don’t expect the Chief Justice to try to tilt the playing field either way. We will listen to the opening arguments by the House prosecutors, we will listen to the President’s lawyers respond, and then we’ll have to make a decision about the way forward.
Everything I do while we’re doing this will be coordinated with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the President’s position and our position as to how to handle this, to the extent we can.
We don’t have the kind of ball control on this…a typical issue, for example, comes over from the house, and if I don’t like it, we don’t take it up. We have no choice but to take it up, but we’ll be working through this process, hopefully in a very short period of time in close cooperation with the White House counsel’s office.
You raise the issue of whether there will be witnesses; It will be up to the President’s counsel to decide if they want to have witnesses.
The case is so darn weak coming over from the House – we all know how it’s gonna end. There is no chance the President’s gonna be removed from office.
My hope is that there won’t be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment, and Sean, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got one or two Democrats.
Over in the House, the Republicans are solid and the Democrats seem to be divided.
[On the Obstruction of Congress charge:]
This is a thoroughly political exercise. This is not like a courtroom experience, this is a political exercise. They’ve been trying to do this for three years, they’ve finally screwed up their courage to do it.
It looks to me like it may be backfiring on them, particularly in swing districts that the Speaker’s party managed to win in order to get to the majority. Most of the nervousness I see on this issue, particularly among the politicians since it’s a political exercise, is on the Democratic side.
[On whether to bring in witnesses like Schiff, Quid Pro Joe and Hunter Biden:]
Again, I’m going to take my cues from the President’s lawyers.
But, yes, if you know you have the votes, you’ve listened to the arguments on both sides, and believe the case is so slim, so weak that you have the votes to end it, that might be what the President’s lawyers would prefer.
You can certainly make a case for making it shorter rather than longer since it’s such a weak case.
[On the Abuse of Power charge:]
Well, this is a really weak case [laughing], and that’s why I think you’re gonna see bipartisan opposition to the articles over in the House.
[How long will it last?]
Well, if they do it [pass the articles in the House] next week, we will get consent to go home for Christmas. We would turn to it right around the first of the year, and we would stay on it until we finish. My hope is that it would be a shorter process rather than a longer process.
[On his and President Trump’s tremendous success on Judicial confirmations:]
It’s all about putting strict constructionists on the court. We put our 50th Circuit judge on the bench last week.
To put that into perspective, Barack Obama did 55 Circuit judges in 8 years, we’ve done 50 in 3 years. We have at least a year left for sure, we’re gonna do more.
One-fourth of the Circuit judges…remember, the most cases don’t make it to the Supreme Court. Most complex litigation never makes it beyond the Circuit court. This has been the most long-lasting, important contribution the President could make, well into the future, far beyond his tenure in office.
So, we’ll have a judiciary more inclined not to make it up on the fly. You know, President Obama said he wanted to appoint judges who had ’empathy.’ Well, that makes great sense if you’re the litigant before the judge for whom the judge has empathy. Its not so good if you aren’t.
[On how Mitch would proceed if a Supreme Court seat came open next year.]
Absolutely [he would proceed to fill the seat]. We definitely would do that.
The most important decision I have made in my career was the decision not to fill the seat of Justice Scalia after he had passed away. That was the beginning, and now we have this exclamation point after three years.
[Hannity says he’s surprised Obama left so many vacancies.]
I’ll tell you why – I was in charge of what we did the last two years of the Obama Administration [laughs].
[Will there be any GOP defections on impeachment?]
I doubt it. There’s zero chance the President would be removed from office, and I’m hoping there will be no defections at all.
That is all.